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"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" Salvage (1955)

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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

A Fine, Unsung Actress

Author: dougdoepke from Claremont, USA
18 January 2009

Pity poor Lois Williams (Gates)—she's at wits end. Depressed and out of work, she's blamed by everyone for the death of Dan Varrel's brother. Worse, Varrel (Barry) is one tough mug, no one to mess with, and now he's out of jail and blaming her. So why not just give up, let him put her out of her misery. Please do it, she tells him, which is what we expect him to do as an act of revenge. But, surprise, surprise, he doesn't. Instead he does everything he can to help her out of her misery. Now it looks like he's rewarding her for killing his brother. So, what's going on with this guy?

My real purpose here is to point out what a wonderful little actress Nancy Gates is. Scope out those early scenes where she's an emotional wreck. She's convincing as all get out. Remember, nobody in 1955 expected these transitory half-hours to still be shown 50 years later. That's one reason many actors didn't try so hard for episodic TV. But Gates delivers in spades, even in the later scenes where she's bubbly happy. It's that emotional gamut that lends what force there is to this half-hour. She may not have been the prettiest girl in Hollywood, but she is surely among the many fine unsung actresses.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

We All Eventually Pay!

Author: Hitchcoc from United States
3 October 2008

A young woman betrays the brother of a gangster while he is in prison. She lives in abject terror of his return, knowing that these will be her last days. When he comes to kill her, he realizes that she is so guilt ridden she doesn't even care. He says as much. He wants her to beg, to plead, to get on her knees. Then a strange turn of events. Instead of doing her in, he offers her a business partnership. Of course, we think he is fronting some illegal operation and she will be victimized by it. It is, after all, Alfred Hitchcock. Still, she begins to design clothes and create a very successful dress shop. She is the happiest she has ever been. She is walking on air. There is a lot of byplay with some real noir characters such as Elijah Cook. Gene Barry is quite good as the cold calculating gangster. This is really a solid episode.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"Are you really happy now?"

Author: ackstasis from Australia
4 February 2009

The best episode since the Hitchcock-directed pilot, "Salvage" (Season 1, Episode 6) is an excellent addition to series. Television has always been a distinct artistic medium from film, mostly with regards to running times. While sitcoms or TV dramas may have hours to develop characters and plot lines, anthology series such as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" had just under thirty minutes to unfold a complete standalone story. In many cases, as in "Don't Come Back Alive" (Season 1, Episode 4), this restriction hindered the quality, but here it serves as a positive. "Salvage" jumps full-swing into its story, with its shifty female protagonist (Nancy Gates) already fearing the arrival of a paroled gangster (Gene Barry, his second appearance in the series) whose brother she betrayed to the authorities. It's this sort of efficient storytelling that produces the best half-hour episodes – most of the characters' back-story can be filled in automatically by the viewer, allowing a considerable amount of drama to unfold in an otherwise limited running-time.

Both of the leads deliver strong performances. Nancy Gates, not an actress I'm familiar with, convincingly plays a shivering emotional wreck, a wretched woman who both understands and accepts that her time is up. Usually, a leading lady can be expected to be innocent and virtuous (as was Patricia Hitchcock in the previous episode, "Into Thin Air"), but Lois Williams is pretty much rotten from the beginning, a cowardly and unrepentant opportunist. Is this the developing mould of Marion Crane, an anti-heroine who deserved everything she got? Gene Barry has an excellent presence, a smouldering ex-convict who's always contemplating his next move. Also look out for film noir stalwart Elisha Cook Jr. as a ratty criminal associate. Hitchcock has some fun in the episode introduction, taking the viewer on a "behind the scenes" tour of the television studio, and narrowly avoiding being pulverised by a heavy object. Hitchcock's droll sense of humour would be the death of him!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Sweet Revenge

Author: getyourdander from United States
18 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gene Barry & Nancy Gates carry a very solid episode. Early on in the show, we find out Nancys character has rated out Barry's brother to the police. Naturally the brother is dead as a result. Then Barry gets out of prison. Is he going to go for immediate revenge? Nope, instead he tries to make Nancy as happy as she can possibly be. He helps her set up a successful business. He does everything he can to make her happy. He even finds the man she is in love with & sends him after her. Then, when she is at the apex of her life, when everything is where she has everything to live for, he pulls out a gun and shoots her.

The story here was worked on by Fred Friedberger who later would work with Gene Roddenbury on STAR TREK. I am sure that is a piece of why it is well done.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Salvage" has the usual surprise for viewers

Author: (chuck-reilly) from Los Angeles
7 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Gene Barry plays Dan Varrel, a gangster just released from prison in this early entry in the series. He's in a mostly foul mood and determined to make poor Lois Williams (Nancy Gates) pay for his brother's death. Seems she ratted him out to the police and they subsequently shot him down. Knowing that she's now completely doomed, the frantic Lois decides to kill herself because she has nothing to live for. It's all over for her until...Varrel gets a change of heart at the last moment. He now feels sorry for Lois and decides it's best for her to live. He even gives her a big fat loan to start her own business. Then to further prove his sincerity, he sets her up to marry the man of her dreams. What a nice guy he is!

"Salvage" is a typical Hitchcock episode of this period and does its best to lead the viewing audience astray as to Varrel's true motives. In that regard, it succeeds very well. Although only a half hour in length, the story has plenty of twists and turns and both Barry and Ms. Gates are excellent in their respective roles. Famous character actor Elisha Cook Jr. is also in the cast as one of Varrel's mean-spirited associates. The violent ending isn't a complete surprise, but the trip there is worth the ride. And wouldn't you know it, Varrel isn't really a nice guy after all.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Salvage

Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
16 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Salvage" will perhaps be more memorable for the opening introduction (with Hitchcock showing us a moment "behind the scenes" while in and out of the director's chair, surviving a falling set light!) than the episode itself which is okay although the ending shouldn't come as a surprise. Nancy Gates is Lois, a no good liar who initiated a failed robbery with Gene Barry's Dan's brother, killed when she ratted him out to the cops. Doing it all for a womanizing prick named Tim (Peter Adams, only after women for their money so he can live large), Lois cared only for him, betraying Dan's brother when it appeared as if she would be arrested. A shootout had ensued and Dan's brother, Richie, was dead. So Dan gets out of prison after taking a rap for his brother in regards to another robbery with revenge on his mind, but because Lois doesn't care what he does to her, it wouldn't achieve the gratification he so desires. So instead Dan foots cash towards Lois so she can start a "petticoat" business, dealing with the latest fashions, and he watches as her miserable life turns around…while Richie's crook pals consider Dan's partnership with Lois is sorry and lowdown, could there be a reason for doing so? Elisha Cook Jr. has a small part as one of Richie's buddies, confronting Dan regarding his negligence in getting revenge against Lois. I don't think there's a doubt regarding Dan's motivations which puts a damper on the ending as I think it is just too telegraphed and expected. Lois' life is turning around for the good thanks to Dan, and her happiness, as he tells her, seems to be all that is important to him…but why? Nancy is first rate as a woman love bitten for a sorry piece of work in Tim, at the beginning so exhausted from the worry of what would happen to her and eventually the rejection of her lover that Dan's murder of her would be considered a relief. Unable to shake Tim, Dan actually goes to him, appealing to him (in Dan's intimidating way) to marry Lois. The whole episode builds based on Lois' gradual life turnaround, so that when she is at the height of her joy Dan has a nice surprise for her.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Heatless & Uninvolving

Author: callanvass from victoria b.c canada
1 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Lois Williams (Nancy Gates) sets up Richie to die in a robbery so she can make her love interest, Tim Grady happy. It ends up backfiring when Tim isn't appreciative of her efforts. Richie's brother, Dan Varrel (Gene Barry) is out of prison, and out for revenge against her. Dan decides to give Lois a new lease on life when he decides he needs to run a legitimate business. What a disappointment this episode was! I'm not a fan of gangster story lines, but I figured Hitchcock could put an interesting spin on it. This was very sub-par and not up to Alfred's standards. For all the praise this show gets, I've not been that impressed with the early episodes of this show. They lack the creativity that Alfred is known for, and I have yet to see one truly great episode. This episode lacks tension and more importantly, suspense. I saw this two days ago and I have largely forgotten it. The ending was extremely predictable and I saw it coming a mile away. Nancy Gates makes for a wooden female lead. Her character is pitiful, selfish, and very annoying. Gene Barry fares better as Dan Unless you're a die-hard fan of Hitchcock, I'd skip this one.


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9 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Film Noir Candy

Author: Joropukki from Helsinki, Finland
20 June 2006

Caught this one on Late Night TV. As a child of mid-fifties, I'm naturally prone to like ladies and gents from that epoch, as they bring to mind mom and dad. The men's dresses were smart and the ladies looked like a woman should.

This episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents gives the extra bonus of seeing Gene Barry before the classic Bat Masterson times. Man, do I love the epoch! Yes I do, and this Film Noir Candy gets an eight for that. It's a sign of true cinematic art that this part of a TV series has stood the test of time.

As I don't like giving away spoilers, I just point to the Hitchcockean cruelty in the storyline. Sir Alfred didn't seem to believe in Christian values. He'd been immensely popular in Ancient Rome.

Cold and nice as a water melon in a fridge -- stabbed with a fruit knife.

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